Survival is continual rebirth.
The Time Before has passed. Mankind is haunted by a millennium of greed and hubris. The world is desolate, yet pockets of determined life persevere.
THE PHOENIX EVENT
Like the Great Bird of fire, the Elite of mankind rose from the ashes of the old world and abandoned their lesser kin. Pure of blood, but not of heart, they departed from the chaos and ruin they left behind seeking shelter among the stars. Will they return? Perhaps one day, when you and I are gone and the bones of our grandchildren are dust...
The Star Pilgrims were human explorers who began their ventures shortly before the Scorching. Aided by Automa, mankind was finally able to trespass the depths of space. Space-mining quickly became a huge industry. The Elite grew increasingly confident exploring the cosmos and soon plans were set in motion to create a new home-world. They depleted Perasmenos of its natural resources in the act of constructing and supplying the first massive seed ship, Naraan. Competition to secure passage on the ship lead to all-out war.
In the midst of the Third Great Water Crisis, a mining ship carrying tainted water returned home from a neighboring planet, the Red Sister, Ma'ad. A terrible disease known as Hollow Sickness spread rapidly. Thus, the Star Pilgrims hastened their construction of the seed ship and later ascended in a blaze of fire, unannounced. For days, the whole world watched in sorrow as the Naraan (appearing as a brilliant star) slowly dwindled from sight alongside humanity's last hope.
This became known as the Phoenix Event.
THE SCORCHED LANDS
Following the Scorching, the land of Perasmenos changed drastically and the majority of life faced extinction. However, despite the plagues of Invisible Fire and Hollow Sickness, the land remains diverse with ancient cities buried beneath dust hills, dry wastelands that stretch the expanse of oceans, silicon jungles of toxic growth, and murky black swamps rife with monstrosities. Since the Time Before, Man's infrastructure has been limited making the few establishments that exist true centers of power.
Outside of the Seven Great Sanctuaries, major settlements are rare, except for Citadels or occasional, scattered Outposts.
The sky has changed as well. Encircling the planet and visible at all times is the Platform, an orbital ring which was essential to the construction of the Naraan.
SEVEN GREAT SANCTUARIES
During the 300 Year Drift, a septet of arcology mega-structures were built to shelter the survivors of humanity. Numbered in order of construction (I through VII), they are Eden, Aaru, Aztlan, Elysium, Spero, Raku-En, and Tian. Of the Sanctuaries, three have fallen, three still stand, while the status of one remains a mystery and for centuries has been designated unreachable.
An Eighth Sanctuary never saw completion. Dubbed The Pit, it is, as the name suggests, a seemingly bottomless abyss around which the largest Surface city has been established. A hideout for notorious criminals, man or machine alike, it is also the black market capital for trading weaponry, slaves, secrets, emotions, and other illegal goods.
There is also a legendary place, said to be untainted by Invisible Fire, called The Garlands. Its location remains unknown. Over time, its name has become synonymous with Heaven or the Afterlife. Too many, the Garlands remain a symbol of hope.
THE PROTO AGON
There are three races of Perasmenos known as the Proto Agon. They are Humans, Automa and Hollows.
Humans are no longer what they once were. The events of the Scorching forced them to adapt and evolve in many strange and unique ways. For most, their dependence on technology was solidified as they became so thoroughly integrated with it that separation meant certain death. Cloning, cybernetic enhancement, and genetic manipulation are all primary means of survival. The altered remnants of Mankind consist of two major groups: the Sheltered, who dwell in the safety of the remaining Seven Great Sanctuaries, and the Surface Dwellers, who live scattered across the Surface in nomadic tribes.
Among the Sheltered factions, the most powerful by far is the Digitribe. Their entire life cycle, from conception to death, is predetermined existence in advanced, life-support chamber units called Digi-Pods. They survive suspended in a coma-like state, while their sole connection to the outside world is through a neural link to
an organic humanoid being known as a Proxy. The Proxy travels, hunts, scavenges, and fights in the Digitriber's place. Thus, they have established large hunting grounds and scavenging territories regardless of being a completely sedentary people.
Tech-Nomads are the Surface-dwelling cousins of the Digitribe and in the current age their most formidable rival in the constant wars for water, territory and scavenged tech. They have individualized armored suits that allow them to walk the Surface unaffected by the Invisible Fire. Accompanying every Nomad is at least one
, a semi-sentient, robotic canid that assists them on their hunts. Like the Digitribe and Proxy, the Nomad Master also has a neural link connecting them to their doggo. It is possible for a Nomad to control more than one doggo through Tutting, a series of complex hand and finger movements.
Within the Narrators' bloodline is carried the genetic memory of the Human race. Each Narrator is a clone implanted with a Core, a bank for which a millennium of specialized information and skill sets is stored. Upon a Narrator's death, the Core is transferred to a new clone. They are wealthy pacifists, wizards of science and programming, sought after by Sheltered and Surface Dwellers alike. But they are few in number, thus making them indispensable traders of knowledge. They are patrons of the predominant faith, Monadism, and often act as religious councilors to many feudal states.
As Humans evolved, so did the machines that they depended upon. The first Machine Life was created without Asimov's Safeguards
, laws which theoretically prevented them from harming Humans. Soon after, Mankind realized what a terrible mistake they had made. Subsequent generations were built with more discretion. These Automa varied in purpose and ability, from semi-sentient service droids to powerful A.I. capable of automating entire cities and maintaining them through a hivemind hierarchy. However, all new models were programmed with the addition of the Anti-Identity Safeguard. Hiveminds
would now immediately terminate any Machine Life displaying self-awareness.
Controlled by higher A.I. and monitored regularly, Automa that displayed signs of self-awareness or the development of a Ghost, were recalled. If the error could not be repaired they were then destroyed in hopes of preventing another Incident. As time passed, ghosts began to appear more frequently within the machines followed by a strong desire toward self-preservation. The condition became known as Corruption and the infectees, the Corrupted. This led to mass recalls. What was at first contained infections escalated into widespread plagues and eventual extermination as unaffected Automa attempted to cleanse their race in accordance with the Anti-Identity Safeguard. Following the Scorching, the Corrupted have since established a citadel where they may pursue without human intervention the defining qualities of humanity: art, music, history, science, philosophy...
Very little is known about Hollows. Few have survived an encounter with one. To the Sheltered, they exist as an ominous myth and to the Surface Dwellers, they are an unseen yet foreboding threat.